Russian Ark, 2002

Aleksandr Sokurov’s Russian Ark was next, and it is quite a spellbinding, visually brilliant film, as Sokurov transports us through episodes of Russian history through the confines of The Hermitage Museum in one long unbroken shot (in the same experimental vein as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope) that seems to create a seeming perpetuity that underscores a sense of history’s transience, but also Russia’s rich legacy and turbulent evolution – a sense of corporeal ghosts inhabiting a disconnected and inescapable (albeit glorious and majestic) space, and visually (or technically), deriving continuum from a finite space. The film creates a seeming parable for a nation irretrievably moving ever adrift from the rest of Europe, and oblivious (or apathetic) to its cultural and artistic legacy. What is visibly absent though, are the aspects of spirituality and metaphysical concern that had attracted me to his earlier works.

© Acquarello 2002. All rights reserved.